News - Military

Cyber News Now: Increased vulnerabilities during the holiday season

December 27th, 7:50 AM EST

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - You always want to be aware of cyber threats out there, especially when it comes to your devices and information. But, this time of year, you may want to keep an even closer eye.

The holidays mean celebration for many. However, a Savannah River National Lab expert says it’s a time that also creates opportunity for bad actors.

“Things are wrapping up, everyone is rushing around to meet with friends and family, so it’s the perfect time when you’re already preoccupied, people know that you’re not going to maybe think as hard about clicking a link as any other time of the year.” said Harrison Howell, SRNL Engineer.

Risk also increases during this time of the year for the power sector.

“Right now, the grid is more vulnerable than it normally would be, because we are producing more power because people are heating their homes.” said Howell.

There are attacks common to both. One of them is phishing email. Howell says the threat may target your holiday spirit in order for you to be more reactive instead of proactive.

“It’s really common for people to see something like that, like a return package panic and just immediately click a link. That’s usually how phishing emails are most effective when it evokes some sort of emotional response.” said Howell.

Another big thing to look out for is a scam involving gift cards. Someone may try to impersonate a figure you trust to get money from you.

“..And so, people will get you to go out and buy cards, send them the codes and then they’ll have that money and it can’t really be tracked down.” said Howell.

Whether it’s your money or your information, Howell says now is the time to be more cautious when online.

“You don’t know where your data is going, who it is being sold to, and who is going to buy it. You don’t really have any control out of it once it’s out there and you can’t take it back.” Howell.

Howell also recommends taking extra time with newly gifted devices. He suggests reading through the manual and adjust settings to better safeguard your data.

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